April 18, 2014
Valparaiso, Chile Fire Response
HSI consultant veterinarian Dr. Sergio Rodriguez and a team of Chilean veterinarians traveled to the city of Valparaiso, Chile, to care for animals caught in the fire that has destroyed almost 3,000 homes and killed at least 15 people since it started burning on April 12.
The Chilean community has responded to this catastrophe with overwhelming solidarity and support for the victims and their companion animals. HSI partner organizations on the ground including RIMA, Ecopolis and ACUAA have worked together with food distributors, veterinarians and government entities to assess needs and plan how best to channel supplies.
Shelters have been opened to accommodate those who lost their possessions and, as Chile continues to lead the region in the enforcement of protocols that incorporate animals into disaster relief efforts, pets are being welcomed as members of the family, receiving veterinary attention, food and water.
Dr. Rodriguez and his team climbed the hills that were the first to burn, where people have returned to look for surviving animals and what is left of their homes. They treated those animals who had not been brought to where the aid is concentrated, in the center of town. Reports from the field confirm that assistance is still pouring in, but our team knows that with the end of Easter weekend, volunteer veterinary students will have to return to school, leaving a gap in the delivery of relief.
HSI is monitoring the sitution and will work alongside Chilean organizations and government officials to help alleviate the pain and stress suffered by the victims of this disaster. Please give now to help.